Friday, January 27, 2023

How SheEO Is Putting Their Money Where Their Mouth Is When It Comes To Supporting Kiwi Women & Non-Binary Entrepreneurs

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When it comes to Kiwi women in business supporting Kiwi women in business, Theresa Gattung is all about empowering the entrepreneurs who are keen to follow in her footsteps. And what’s the best way to support women in business? Give them access to the money and the opportunities that are so often solely reserved for their male counterparts. The Global Women Chair and NZ SheEO Country Lead tells Capsule about why supporting women in business is essential and why SheEO is determined to make the world of venture capital funding a more equal one.

Women, especially women of colour, continue to face deep-seated gender inequality and are massively underrepresented when it comes to venture capital for start-ups. I’m a firm believer that through business, we can create a fairer world.

I’ve seen it myself and can demonstrate the results through my involvement with SheEO.

Less than five percent of the world’s venture capital funding goes to female-led businesses, and even less to women of colour.

SheEO is all about women helping women and non-binary folks succeed by providing interest free loans and other support to early stage businesses (ventures) through radical generosity.

When I first heard about SheEO, I went looking for statistics on the percentage of venture capital funding that goes to women. I found global data showing that less than five percent of the world’s venture capital funding goes to female-led businesses, and even less to women of colour.

There is still a crucial need to support women in business and raising capital is often where the rubber hits the road.

I looked in vain for similar data here in New Zealand. There was none.

What is measured is a clear indication of what is important. Not only do we not currently measure the venture capital funding that goes to women in New Zealand, but also we have dropped out of being part of a global survey that measures this.

In the progressive, fast-paced world of entrepreneurship, you may be under the assumption that all things are equal between men and women. Well, they are not. There is still a crucial need to support women in business and raising capital is often where the rubber hits the road.

To promote meaningful change, we must equip women with skills that enable them to excel in business, as an entrepreneur and in life. We need more women entrepreneurs who hold a dual focus of making money while creating a better world.

That’s the beauty of SheEO, an initiative that started in Canada and is now available in the US, Australia, New Zealand and the UK, where women do it for themselves on their own terms.

We are not standing against anything. We are standing for something.

We need more women entrepreneurs who hold a dual focus of making money while creating a better world.

We are standing for, in many ways, the traditional view of business that is an honourable activity with its own rigorous discipline about meeting market needs that benefits the owners, the people who work in the business, and the community that the business is part of and serving – whether local or global.

SheEO is a safe and supportive environment for women founders to access capital from firstly other women, and then men who share their values. Women founders can activate change in the world through building businesses of scale that are focused on both profit and purpose.

I feel honoured to be part of this generation of female leaders opening the door for women and non-binary entrepreneurs who want to become part of an unstoppable force.

SheEO started in New Zealand in 2017 and since then, our SheEO community is proud of the success of the selected Ventures. These Ventures have achieved remarkable environmental and sustainability impact goals, as well as financial fitness.

But we are not ones to rest on our laurels and there is still much work to be done to encourage more entrepreneurs to join our community. So, we are once again calling for applications from wāhine and non-binary entrepreneurs who need help accelerating their businesses.

If you are an entrepreneur or have a business that you’re working to get off the ground, I urge you to look at SheEO. For those of you who are interested, visit sheeo.world before applications close on 10 June at midnight NZST.

And for those of you who are looking for ways to support women in business, identify them and support them with your patronage. Very often we think making big changes in the world needs big action. But each of us doing what we can in our communities can have a profound impact.

We must educate, encourage and support women to engage with all aspects of entrepreneurship. When we do this as a country, we will reap the benefits of cultivating all of New Zealand’s business talent.

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